Paddington – City views

To make the most of their available city views, better use of their existing home, plus incorporate an extra two bathrooms.

The site was very steep, with city views from every level, but they could only be appreciated from a couple of spots because the room arrangements were disjointed and dark, and the detailing was cluttered. Side windows looked directly into the neighbours 3m away. The bathroom and guest room opened on to the kitchen. A pool at the top of the block could not be seen from anywhere in the house. They needed two extra bathrooms. Although large, the house felt tight and constrained.

We left the structural shell and roof of the house the same (to avoid town planning issues), gutted the main living area to install a linear kitchen, creating vistas from front to back plus walls for art. New doors and post layouts framed a generous outdoor living area. The top floor grew by four square metres to fit an extra bathroom and windows were rearranged to overlook the pool. Side windows were closed screened or moved for light with complete privacy A light natural resort-style ensuite replaced the dingy colonial one.

All the surfaces from street to pool were simplified and streamlined to frame rather than detract from the views. A stainless steel rod balustrade elegantly echoes traditional handrails. The house feels light, open and flowing. Every living space and bedroom has either city or water views.

  • Paddington – City views

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Taringa – Duplex

To make a ‘silk purse from a sow’s ear’ – an Architect’s dream …and a builder’s nightmare!

With spectacular views to the north and city, this 480-square-metre small lot was shaped like a slice of pie, on a busy road and with a telephone pole in the middle. The challenge included a 10-metre fall (four storeys) from the front of the block to the rear.

The creation of two lots, each with a four-bedroom townhouse, double garage and family room over three and a half levels. These modern, spacious houses with high ceilings, plenty of storage and abundant light were designed so that all living areas and bedrooms would have views that couldn’t be built out. Our solution topped the state at the Queensland Master Builders Association Housing & Construction Awards for the best use of a steep site over $250,000. Construction was completed on time and on budget, and the owners sold for a profit.

  • Taringa – Duplex

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Stradbroke Island, Point Lookout – Beach house

An easy care, four-bedroom beach house for both family and rental, with minimal site impact and an economical construction.

This long, skinny block was set back from the main road, within walking distance of the beach. Large trees grew at the front and there was a clearing at the rear, with the opportunity for north-facing ocean glimpses from an upper level. It was likely that two-storey neighbours would surround the property in the future.

Using compact planning, a simple structure and off-the-shelf detailing, PlaceMate’s floor plan included a ground-level beach zone for cars and gear, coupled with a north-facing outdoor living area on the upper deck. To create interest and privacy half levels of stair landings were used. Colour successfully blended the beach house with the surrounding leafy site.

  • Stradbroke Island, Point Lookout – Beach house

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Shorncliffe – 1910 transformation

To create a serene sanctuary for effortless living and discrete entertaining, and build underneath without raising the house, avoiding the need for town planning and heritage permissions.

Previously a holiday home for a Brisbane lord mayor, few Art Nouveau details remained following this 1940s conversion into four poky flats. The original house rested on a water table and termites had rotted the timber from underneath. Inside, cracked aluminium windows obscured panoramic views of Moreton Bay to the east and western views to Taylor Range were lost in the oppressive heat generated by a corrugated iron roof. Add to all that the presence of very close neighbours.

Pare everything back and get out of the way. Frame beautiful views and turn ugly ones into light. Reduce visual clutter to create more flow and space. Transform semi-underground bedrooms into a light, airy garden rooms.

  • Shorncliffe – 1910 transformation

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